After a long winter our spring began to unfold with everyone's dormant grass turning now to a beautiful, lush green. Everyone has had to mow, and perhaps, mow again. Our whole world here is beautiful with each yard looking fabulous, no matter if they take care of their lawn with fertilizer or not. The newness is fresh, beautiful, and clean ---
--- unless you were to walk up close and look intently at each yard.
The lushness is sometimes a facade to what is reality. When you get up close and examine some of these lush, green lawns you may notice all the ugly imperfections which will only become worse as spring turns to a dry summer, a drier autumn, and then another bleak winter.
As with many housing developments in these last decades, the healthy top soil has been removed before any construction began. Most of our lawns were seeded or sodded over what was left -- clay. Soon enough, these healthy looking, lush green lawns which are not continually treated with fertilizer will begin to show their actual unhealthiness. This unhealthiness has been there all the time -- we just do not see it through the first lushness of spring. As our time marches into summer these lawns will not look green and lush again until the beginning of next spring when the unhealthiness is once again temporarily hidden from our sight, a facade.
This reminds me of many Christians who have a facade. There are people who claim Jesus as their Savior who "look" extremely righteous because of their dress, their righteous words, their behavior in public, and their knowledge of God's Word, but underneath their facade, and in their privacy, there is much unrighteousness in their lives which, sadly, they do not see in themselves. Their words are filled with gossip, falsely proving to themselves that they are better than everyone else. Their sins run rampant in them because they have thought more highly of themselves than everyone else -- by their own measure, not God's. They have put themselves up on a pedestal of their own making, and thus blinding themselves from their own sinful pride.
A biblically, healthy Christian, a person who claims Jesus as their Savior, and who thinks biblically right about themselves, is a sinner saved by His grace.
This person knows they are not better than anyone else. This person knows they are never on a pedestal because they are humbled before the Almighty God who saved them from all their past and future sins.
Humility is what others see in this biblical person's life, not pride and selfishness. Kindnesses and compassions, caring, giving, joyfulness even in agonies, and humble praises to our God and King is what others see in a person humbly living in God's grace.
When I am around legalistic, manipulative, controlling, unteachable, selfish, prideful Christians I become mortified at first, and then I begin to grieve deeply for them. They have made their own trap, they have dug their own pit, and while they have done this they have forgotten their first love ---if, they actually had the true LORD in the first place. LORD, help them!
It is easy to fall into sin. We all do it.
Every one of us is a sinner, Christian or non-Christian.
Any one of us can sin, which can lead to another sin, which can build and build until we can fool ourselves and actually believe that we are just fine, that we are better than others, that God is so proud of us.
As Christians we can allow our sins to "blur" and become a facade of what we think is a "normal life". Our anger can rage when another Christian has the nerve to point out our problems (our sins) within our lives. Beware: These are Red Flags, danger signs in our lives. Look out for them, and then run humbly to the LORD in repentance.
"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment,
as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Let love be without hypocrisy.
Abhor what is evil;
cling to what is good.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love;
give preference to one another in honor;
not lagging behind in diligence,
fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
rejoicing in hope,
persevering in tribulation,
devoted to prayer,
contributing to the needs of the saints,
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
Be of the same mind toward one another;
do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly.
Do not be wise in your own estimation.
Never pay back evil for evil to anyone.
Respect what is right in the sight of all men.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God,
for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
“But if your enemy is hungry, feed him,
and if he is thirsty, give him a drink;
for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil,
but overcome evil with good."